Soul Of Searing Steel Chapter 713


Chapter 713 Slumbering Cocoon

Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation  Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation

Starfall Year 837, the first of October.

The outer reaches of the world of Mycroft, the Holy Mountain Warship—Fort Glory, observation control hub ‘Eye of the Saint’.

As always, dozens of elite clergies had been solemnly at work in the three-hundred and sixty-degrees, all-transparent observation deck. The colossal Void warship which original form had been the Holy Mountain of the Distant Sea, there were more than twenty-five hundred various observation formation and lens controlled by the observation hub of the Holy Mountain Fortress. Most of them operated through autonomous circuits, while several hundreds of the high-quality lenses that could carry out Void observation were operated manually by specialists between three different shifts day and night.

In the main control room, streams of information feedback and reports were sent and received. The clergies worked primly, even without anomaly occurring in the Void around Mycroft.

Until that very moment.

“Widespread dimensional shift in Sector 171!’

Shrill, red alarms were suddenly ringing on a certain monitor in the observation deck. The clergy who observed the observation point panickily stared at shade that was rapidly enlarging in the virtual monitor—without hesitating, he activated the early-warning signal for large-scale ‘Void Calamity’, while forwarding the shade before his eyes to the central observation deck.

At once, every observer saw a colossal dimensional vortex rapidly forming in the Void nearby Mycroft. It crumpled dimensional turbulences like a funnel, its frightening gravity dragging everything around it, forcing otherworld matter wafting in the Void to gather towards it.

In a brief dozens of seconds, the gravitational force of its core reached nine hundred billion times that of standard gravity values. However, when the unimaginable number kept rising wildly, every clergy present suspected that their vision developed issues and led them to see a few more zeroes, but that number never changed no matter how many times they stared at it.

“Void constitution had been distorted… It isn’t clear.”

The leader of Observation Control—a Supreme-tier High Priest frowned. He was the former High Priest of the God of Wisdom and Choice and stationed at the Eastern Plains, but gave up his peaceful and steady life there following the rise of the Holy Mountain Fortress, taking up a post in the Void. Now, he was controlling dozens of Void observation points to study the distant gravitational vortex, but could not really see the sights at that location in real-time.

Excessive and terrible gravity that could violently twist light itself certainly left them with no options as they were equipped with observation formations that relied on mana and various radioactive oscillation. In response, the High Priest could only give a helpless order.

“It might be some ancient Void Behemoth. Send the message to notify other observation centers and Aida—we need further instructions.”

“Do we have to change our course?”

“That’s not our business.”

***

The Void was no safe place. In the seven hundred and more years since the people of Mycroft had entered the Void, they observed countless dimensional turbulences and storms of various scales that might either be natural Void phenomenon or shockwaves from the movements of certain Void behemoths. In the brief operational history of the ‘Eye of the Saint’, the Seven Gods Church could even observe two distant worlds colliding after a Void storm, subsequently fusing into one.

Compared to that chaotic storm that was so boundless there were tidal waves cascading through that dimensional region, the dimensional vortex that abruptly appeared was not too unusual. However, the vortex was too close to Mycroft compared to some distant Void storm—therefore, for the safety of the world, the Holy Mountain Fortress that had been tasked with patrolling the Void around Mycroft must make an immediate decision.

Should they observe safely but vaguely from a distance, or take the risk and observe the dimensional vortex from a shorter range?

The choice was made soon enough. With the flicker of a vein of sacred but faint light, a white-haired elderly man hence appeared at the center of the observation deck. He frowned slightly before nodding at the vortex that was no longer expanding, although it was still stirring the surrounding Void dangerously.

“Well done,” he said. “Maintain observation—let’s take a closer look.”

With the arrival of the true leader, the entire Holy Mountain Fortress changed course and made for the dimensional vortex. The many clergies present were no longer uneasy as well, for Pope Igor had arrived in the flesh.

Soon, the Fortress that drove forward at full speed arrived at the edge of the dimensional region just beyond the vortex’s gravitational boundary.

The so-called dimensional region was a concept suggested by a court mage of the West Mountains two hundred and seventy years ago. He believed that to better observe the many stars and many worlds in the Void, there should be a standard boundary and measurement. Therefore, he measured the frontiers where certain observable dimensional ripples emanating from Mycroft could reach, confirming the concept of ‘dimensional region’.

Each dimensional region would hence be partitioned with certain distinct planetary worlds at its center, and from that measurement, that dimensional vortex was right at the edge of Mycroft’s dimensional region. The Holy Mountain Fortress decelerated when they arrived at that location so that they would not enter the area of the vortex’s gravitational influence, instead releasing multiple prismatic magical observation apparatus to study the vortex in real time.

They hence quickly noticed the ‘Giant Silver Cocoon’ at the heart of the vortex.

“Is that an egg?” Someone asked, even though the contrast in terms did not matter. One way or the other, everyone could not help feeling stirred when they saw that perfect sphere which had been almost fifty meters tall, but was gradually crumbling and shrinking. It embodied the beauty of order and sheer power, its existence alone shifting the dimensions around it.

Pope Igor could not help nodding too—he could not find any vulnerabilities or flaws from the silver sphere despite his ability. Soon, however, he sensed a familiarity from the silver luminous shroud revolving around the giant cocoon… he had definitely seen that tremendous gravitational ripple from a certain acquaintance.

“Could it be…”

A possibility appearing in mind, along with the lack of recent news from that person who was definitely traveling in the Void recently, Igor understood at once. He no longer looked upon the giant cocoon with vigilance, but with a sense of helplessness.

‘Always making headlines’,  the elderly pontiff thought, shaking his head before turning toward the High Priest beside him, who in turn had all but confirmed that the giant cocoon was the egg of some Void Behemoth. “We can pretty much cancel the high-alert. Whatever it is, that thing is no threat… prepare for recovery.”

“Yes, your Holiness. But… How would we recover that thing?”

The High Priest bowed in reverence and accepted the orders, although remaining puzzled about how to recover the cocoon. After all, everyone had seen the terrific mass of the thing itself, stirring gravity enough that it would crush the sturdiest asteroids that was the remnant of a destroyed world—it could well be the raw material for forging a Holy Sword. Approaching that thing a little would probably deal severe damage upon the Holy Mountain, not to mention recovering it.

“What is there to do?” Igor sighed in response, flexing his limbs and shaking his head. “Of course I’ll do it myself.”

At once, a rather inconspicuous brilliance darted away from the majestic Holy Mountain Fortress, making a beeline straight towards

Meanwhile, in the heart of the dimensional vortex, the Steel Python Karlis had also sense that radiant human figure that was swiftly approaching, as well as the Bright Scepter he held in hand.

“The Sage’s presence.”

It appeared rather excited. “Should be a communicative being.”

The existing form of Steel Pythons far eclipsed most living things, being the most profound beings formed of pure Steel and Flame. Regardless of how powerful most creatures were, as long as they did not embody Steel Strength or refined their souls to the pinnacle, they basically would not see a Steel Python, much less interact with them.

Karlis was certainly aware of that. However, Joshua did once mention to it that Mycroft had others who also inherited the Sage’s Legacy and could communicate with Steel Pythons. That was why it waited there, or it would have long returned to its own world a long time ago.

As for Joshua’s safety… Karlis thought that it was rather clear who was the one who actually requires attention. Typical intelligent beings, having their brains, would not easily attack the unknown silver object that could distort the Void around it. Instead of minding the warrior’s safety, it was much better to warn the ignorant civilizations around them to avoid that dangerous zone, so that they would not throw away their lives wastefully.

And when Pope Igor broke through heavy gravitational seals and arrived nearby the giant silver cocoon, he realized in shock that a profound consciousness was wandering around the cocoon that should be Joshua.

A World Will!

A while ago, he had worked together with many Legends and gods to utterly seal Mycroft’s World Will. He was hence not unfamiliar with the profound will, but before he could determine why a World Will would be accompanying Joshua, that vague presence that appeared to be a mere will spoke first.

“Ye who holds the Scepter of the Sage.”

It spoke thus, “You are perhaps the champion, the friend Joshua once mentioned. As you could see, Joshua had transformed to that silver cocoon. A while ago, he and I had journeyed to the depths of the Void and completed a mission assigned by another World Will, but perhaps because his power had arrived at a certain threshold, he suddenly transformed to this state.”

Karlis could actually guess Joshua’s thoughts then, too.

While the warrior was greatly exhausted after the battle against Fattrovi the Authority Usurper, he clearly reaped huge rewards. Joshua’s presence had been rather unstable then, although he suppressed it and hence left Simboa without delay. However, in the instant when they left, they incidentally encountered the astonishing shift of the Void Vortex, and countless primitive Steel Strength of creation cascaded, forcefully injecting a massive amount of energy, filling the last bit of emptiness for him.

At that moment, Joshua knew that his metamorphosis was about to come, which was why he returned at once to Mycroft. It was hence a pity—he was greatly delayed by the anomalies of the Void Vortex to the point that the metamorphosis began irrepressibly, before he could reach a safe place.

As a result, he could only mutter ‘timing isn’t right’.

But it actually was not the worst scenario. If Joshua had really metamorphizing at the edge of Mycroft and unleashed his frightening gravity domain, he would very likely affect the entire world, the excessive gravity ripple perhaps bypassing the World Barrier and presenting various anomalies inside the world.

Meanwhile, Karlis did not care if the radiant human form understood before simply elaborating about all its thoughts and opinions. However, it did not bother to venture into detail about their encounters in Simboa, and so simply gave a general description, leaving the rest for Joshua after he awakens.

Karlis hence left briskly for its own world after leaving Pope Igor with a general idea of the present circumstances, leaving the pontiff alone with a head full of questions as he stared blankly at the giant silver cocoon.

“…What is going on?’

He could tell that the World Will appeared to recognize the Bright Scepter in his hand, and was probably a Steel Python that once communicated with the Sage, and hence probably why it treated him rather well. But before he could ask it about it, Karlis had left with neither care nor sentiment, appearing to be very confident in Joshua’s safety.

And it was certainly confident.

Igor withdrew its gaze and turned to the giant silver cocoon before him, finding it unusually troublesome, although a raging Void Behemoth would only circle it a few times before leaving as well. However, being Legendary-pinnacle and a god amongst the humans of Mycroft, Igor was not helpless against the Steel Strength core that would leave most champions at a bind.

Veins of halo-shaped runes swarmed away from the luminous human figure with a vague visage. In seconds, millions of golden ‘isolation runes’ formed a huge runic sphere outside the giant silver cocoon. With the support of the elderly pope’s power, the seemingly weightless runic sphere did not crumble beneath the gravity tear from the silver cocoon, instead overlapping and resonating to form a ‘parallel space’. At once, the dimensional vortex that swirled in the surrounding Void began to shrink, finally vanishing, just as the concave funnel space gradually returned to its previous shape, no longer twisted.

When all of that was done, Igor panted, feeling a little glad that Joshua should still be focused in the metamorphizing instead of deliberately resisting. Otherwise, the pontiff would have to pay several times the effort, even calling for support from the Holy Mountain Fortress to complete the seal.

His series of actions was actually a sealing art inherited by the Seven Gods Church, used to seal various remaining body parts of Evil Gods. It would build a parallel space that was completely isolated, holding the endless remaining toxic of Chaos within—even the grand scale sealing spell used on Mycroft’s World Will was a form of its variant.

But due to the rekindling of the Flame, Mycroft had to seal their own Steel Python, even before the sealing spells were casted upon various remaining body parts of Evil Gods and origins of Chaos in the Sealed Lands… and now, there was Joshua.

When everything was done, Igor drew the golden sealed sphere and flew towards the Holy Mountain Fortress, but could not help hesitating when he was prepared to put the sphere in a hold.

“That man… If he suddenly struggled away from the seal, wouldn’t the Holy Mountain Fortress be completely destroyed?”

After some thought, Igor found a perfect solution.

Thus, the mountainous and dazzling vessel navigated over the Void, darting toward Mycroft and causing a surge of dimensional turbulence.

And behind the vessel was a long runic belt of light, hanging by the tail ends of the Holy Mountain Fortress and connected to the inconspicuous golden sphere of light. However, despite running on full capacity, the Fortress remained almost a third slower than before. Most hands were puzzled as to why the return journey was considerably longer than before, but only a few knew the reason.

***

Starfall Year 837, fifteenth of October. The Void Warship production base in the East Barnett Highlands, the Northern Empire, the world of Mycroft.

Nostradamus stared at the giant silver cocoon placed inside a translucent quarantine storeroom with considerable aching in his head, just as Israel’s full-body projection also watched that giant cocoon which diameter was almost forty meters.

The two then looked at each other, their expression helpless.

They were in a large storeroom temporarily built by the westernmost front of the East Barnett Highlands, at the very edge of the Northern Empire’s magical factories. There was no other production installation around, but the two leaders of the Empire were frowning at the center of the storeroom, wherein a cocoon filled with ‘isolation runes’ floated in the air.

“What should we do? I can’t sense a thing inside the cocoon.”

Nostradamus, holding a grimoire in one hand, was scratching his head with another—which he did for an entire week. After the Seven Gods Church had handed over the cocoon ‘suspected’ to be Joshua, the old mage had spent almost every day inside the storeroom, considering how to talk to Joshua.

Even if they could not interact, they should at least determine Joshua’s present condition.

“According to the Seven Gods Church, all known divine spells or even magic could not determine what is happening inside the cocoon—we can’t even bypass the Steel Strength shielding over the surface of the cocoon.”

“That’s very much what Barnil and William said.” Israel’s projection nodded. The Emperor had remained on his Throne of Surveillance and did not visit with his real form, mainly because there was no purpose even if he arrived in person. As a Dragon Rider who was not on the same field, Israel could only repeat others’ conclusion. “That sage from the Eastern Plains and Barbarossa also came by a while ago. Did you meet them? What did they say?”

“They can’t do a thing either.”

Nostradamus rubbed his temples rather exhaustedly and scowled. “Direct contract would not do. Everything that passed through the gravity seal barrier would be caught, then fully disintegrated into base Steel Strength shroud and absorbed by him. That’s how Barbarossa lost that scepter of his, and Barnil almost lost a hand.”

“Does that mean we can’t do anything here?”

Israel shook his head, and turned toward that slowly whirling silver sphere that kept shrinking to sigh. “Noble Radcliffe, you’ve given us a great conundrum.”

At that, His Imperial Majesty’s projection turned anxiously towards Nostradamus again. “Then? If we can’t awaken him, we can only put that egg here?”

“Cocoon,” the elderly mage corrected. “Although that’s the gist of it. Joshua is, after all, a Legendary champion of our Empire and can’t be kept in the Seven Gods Church… But to be frank, those clergies appeared in great panic. I suspect there would be mass hysteria eventually if they kept the cocoon.”

“Ah… Can’t blame them. Even the workers in the installation are getting restless.”

Israel did not show any expression of disdain; he was in fact a little sympathetic. Soon, even that bit of sympathy quickly diminished as His Imperial Majesty glanced at the egg. “After all,” he said worriedly, “this thing is a bomb that could instantly destroy the East Barnett Highlands in its entirety. To be honest, I am fearful since this is our industrial base, and if he does lose control suddenly… Keeping the egg Noble Radcliffe turned into is definitely not a solution.

‘Cocoon’, Nostradamus thought. Still, he was of the same mind with Israel’s worries. Even if the silver cocoon appeared stable now, who knows what kind of anomaly would happen after Joshua awakened? If it was another phenomenon at the scale of a dimensional vortex, the entire western highlands of the Empire might be devastated, leaving a pile of wastelands.

Since they could not talk to Joshua inside the cocoon, they should not be keeping him here. They need to find a safe and vast space to put him and await his awakening… But was there such a place? There was no such place that was vast and unowned, not even the far seas since the gravitational shift could lead to tidal waves, causing great damage.

The Void would not do too since it was too far for them to observe. On the other hand, if they placed it too close to ensure Joshua’s safety, it would affect the Void-Star Observatory that all factions shared, making it an extraordinary dilemma.

“Wait. There is a place wide enough!”

Nostradamus suddenly thought of a great spot after some long consideration, quickly telling Israel quietly amidst a stir in his spirit.

***

Starfall Year 837. Third of November, the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds beyond Mycroft.

A bunch of unusual visitors had entered the ancient artificial plane that had yet been cleansed of Abyssal toxic.

“They’re saying that Master’s here?”

It was a rather unique procession. In the lead was a metallic construct several dozen meters tall, and holding aloft a flag that read ‘Winter Fort Academy’. A black dragon of almost the same size following behind it, and up on their shoulders sat many youths who were students. One of them, the silver-haired girl standing on the metal construct’s shoulder was looking through a pair of binoculars excitedly at their surroundings, seemingly searching for the alleged presence of her master.

Soon, she sensed a familiar presence emanating from the center of the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds.

The Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds was now open to various factions of Mycroft. Although there were some who protested, believing that such a vital outlet should not be open to public, their opinions did not hold a candle to the Legends, or to the Will that was the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds itself. Most champions believed that since the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds was a miracle built by the races existing in the Glorious Era of Mycroft’s history, they should not simply refuse any existing right to use it.

Ultimately, everyone should be made aware of the Glorious Era’s advancement and power. And they, as successors, would unquestionably be able to achieve the same feats.

What was more, as a completely independent and vast demiplane, its cleanup alone would take decades if the various factions did not work together. Most leaders were aware as well that the Evil Gods would be coming then, and that the Mycroft was on the cusp of great peril. If that was the case, why should they tangle over the rights to use a public facility?

The Winter Fort Academy’s organized trip to the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds this time was an official movement, having received instructions from the Imperial Family of the Northern Empire, and a trail planned by the Imperial Royal Mage Academy. They would head for the center of the plane where the Empire’s base was largely established, before visiting the colossal enchanted Glorious Era buildings under the guidance of a certain elite mage.

Apart from broadening their horizons, such a visit would also hone the aspirations of extraordinary individuals so that their gaze would not be limited to lands and countries, and would instead come to learn the vastness of the Void and the Multiverse.

Naturally, for those amongst the procession but not academy members, and who came only to find their master who had gone missing for a considerable part of the year, it was nothing too important… After all, they had already been there many times.

The many academy students who were still left in awe after transcending the Void at the frontier entrance of the demiplane notwithstanding, a silver cocoon was floating over the land, at the center of the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds and directly beneath the ‘Silver Sky Radiance’—the original form of the Commanding Will.

Countless translucent runes were churning around the cocoon, formless, gathering and dispersing while occasionally forming an orbit form, or an incorporeal nebula. Still, whatever form they take, they would utterly isolate the giant cocoon’s gravity, so that the ultimate mass that exerted a gravitational force fifteen hundred billion times above standard gravity was the same as a harmless metal ball, silently wafting in the air.

The Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds watched the giant cocoon silently, at the most orthodox Sage’s Heir at its heard, watching his metamorphosis.

It was only here, beneath its control at the edge of Mycroft that the giant cocoon would not cause any unseen harm of devastation. Even if Joshua would suddenly finish morphing and once again stir a gravity vortex that was more powerful than before, the Commanding Will was certain it could keep the repercussions at a minimum.

What was more, it believed that Joshua van Radcliffe can keep his own power in check.

And inside the cocoon, the warrior whom everyone thought to be slumbering never once stopped thinking.

He was conscious—infinitely conscious, because Joshua had been resisting a power that could break his flesh and bones. all along

And the source of that power was himself.

See this! I just gifted the story: Lollipop

Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation  Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation

What is memory?

It is the process in which humans classified and stored experience and information, with remembrance being the method such information were drawn. Memories are a fundamental mechanism of human thought, to lose the ability to memory meant humans would lose everything they need to survive, including self, interpersonal relationships, skills, information and the like.

In ancient times, humans believed that their soul, memories thinking and will exist independently from their body. After the Flesh was ruined, human souls and memories would remain, their thoughts and will unharmed—the origins of the world beyond death, as well as legends of ghosts and spirits.

In fact, in Mycroft, memories, thinking and will have hosts—specifically the cerebral cortex, hippocampus, striatum, amygdala, temporal lobe, parietal lobe and other parts of the brain. With Extraordinary powers, the soul would also embody part of memories and thoughts.

The destruction of the Flesh was hence equivalent to the destruction of the soul—memories were assuredly no exception.

Unless Soul Mastery was achieved.

It was only through Soul Mastery that the soul could exist independently from the Flesh, eternal and indestructible. Memory would also hence be freed from the sudden stimulus of fragile brain constitution, nervous system or brain cells and reaching a threshold of near-immortality, keeping all memories fresh even after millions of years.

Nevertheless, such immortality was not genuine invincibility, and Joshua was now facing a perilous situation that could well destroy his ‘immortal memories’.

***

At present, the giant silver cocoon that the warrior hard turned into never once stopped thinking. Even so, it had not the strength left to care about all things external, for he was now seemingly beneath a bottomless abyss and holding the torch called will. Still, the endless darkness around him consumed all light, stagnating his thought and slowly devouring his memories, and the spark was about to extinguish amidst the shadows.

The very power form Joshua’s own body was irrepressibly destroying his very essence: the warrior’s very memories of being Joshua.

“No-Hair Theorem of black holes…”

As the warrior’s will was pushed to its limits inside the giant silver cocoon, there was a flash of knowledge from the preexistence about massive astronomical bodies.

The so-called No-Hair Theorem stated that after any blackhole formed could only be observed by the three physical parameters of mass, electric charge, and angular momentum, while other information is known as ‘hair’ and would be lost as substances were crushed beneath extreme compression inside blackholes. Therefore, regardless of the planet, its glorious history or stirring past, those three physical parameters would be all that was left of them in the very moment that planet turned into a blackhole.

That was quite easily understood since blackholes were essentially objects compressed to an extreme. It had no complex construct that could store information, and hence naturally unable to obtain information as well, thereby losing ‘Self’.

And what Joshua faced now was a conundrum akin to the ‘No-Hair Theorem’.

When the warrior rose as a Legend, he chose astronomical bodies as his future path: stars were his energy core and his armor was forged from white dwarf matter. From the start, he crafted his body into ultimate weapons from the physical realm, setting triumph against countless classical Legends as his very initial goal. With his outer shell of indestructible degenerate matter withstanding countless powerful offensives, Joshua defeated many that had become superior lifeforms before him.

At the time, Joshua’s body was not completely composed of degenerate matter. His mental hub, various unique organs, and modules were all built from various supernatural alloys, and as Joshua’s Steel Strength gradually progressed to a hundred percent, his constitution also slowly became pure degenerate matter. When he finally encountered the Void Vortex and was injected with massive amounts of energy by the new nebulas, the process was radicalized.

To choose the path of the stars meant to possess celestial power, and a destiny like them.

Hence, before he was completely prepared, Joshua was forced to face his most important metamorphosis—shaking away lower concentration matter and to utterly become a superior body of degenerate matter.

And the price to pay for that process was Self.

Joshua’s power was too powerful, his mass too tremendous and material compression too pure. Therefore, in his metamorphosis, his embodiment of memories up to his soul would be swept away by the incessantly purified Steel Strength. Like a black hole that destroyed every bit of its own information, becoming a distilled assemblage of Steel Strength. Pure proton and neutron compounds would not form nervous constructs similar to synapses and hippocampus, not to mention processing hub of supercomputers: there were no space to spare for Joshua inside the incessantly compressed and collapsing degenerate matter, to think or keep a memory.

Hum, hum. An incessant rumble echoed the microscopic view. It was the ‘sound’ electrons were drawn powerfully into protons and converted into neutrons. When Joshua turned into the giant silver cocoon, it echoed as mass collapsed and shrunk: the simple and direct process of metamorphosis has destroyed all existing constitution inside the mass. Be it Nuclear Heart Reactor or Psionic Warp Engine, all constructs were now the purest of degenerate matter that compressed without stopping, and any information stored within was long destroyed, nonexistent.

Still, the process was not one-dimensional. The silver metallic sphere would shrink or expand during different times, while the transition of degenerate matter would begin or revert during the expansions or contractions. Since mass was not enough to completely change itself into pure neutron degenerate matter, there was a difficulty for the morphing of the silver giant cocoon to fire on all cylinders.

But to Joshua, it was something fortunate. If he could smoothly metamorphize, the day it was completed was the day his self-consciousness and soul would completely vanish. Only by fighting incessantly against his own power amidst such a darkness could that path be successfully transcended.

Ultimately, he had yet to completely become a black hole, merely remaining in the gap between white-dwarf and neutron matter. That was the only way Joshua could record his mark of Self in his purifying Steel Strength, gaining the chance to reform his own mental faculties.

Within the darkness of the giant silver cocoon, the warrior’s self-will was still battling silently.

“By controlling electromagnetism, interfering with microscopic constructs, building stable modules that could store information.”

“Using soul as a bridge to permeate various information storage points, forming a negligible link network for ultra-dense substance.”

“Spreading divinity, tearing it apart and distributing it to the Soul Network, achieving instant information transmitting regardless of distance.”

Building something out of nothing, forging ‘information storage modules’ that were insignificant even in the microscopic view, from trace amounts of electrons and protons into a cohesive compounded neutron flow. Then, linking dot to dot so that it permeated the giant silver cocoon, thus the ‘Soul Network’ took shape, visible even in a holistic view.

The more he did, the quicker Joshua rebuilt his mental faculty. On the very last period, he had maintained enough memories through the Soul Network, even briskly shattering the divinity he could now control and use it as a material to forge an ultimate, supernatural mental construct that could ignore distance and connect with no delay.

Those infinite information storage modules were like ganglions in the human brain, while the divine Soul Network was a network of nerves. Joshua had now utterly become an ultimate lifeform that ordinary humans could hardly imagine, because the essence of his mind was no longer the nervous system with micro-electric flow of ordinary beings.

Joshua’s soul existed alongside his body, no longer needing the mental hub thing that was the brain since every part of his body were all host of his thoughts. To a certain perspective, Joshua had arrived upon his hypothesis about ‘eternal strength’ in the past. From now one, as long as every bit of him was not completely destroyed and the records in his information storage modules were not wiped away, the Joshua would always resurrect and descend upon the world.

***

At the center of the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds where the Silver Sky Radiance illuminated the entire plane, the Commanding Will took no mind of the Winter Fort Academy procession who was slowly approaching from the distance, as well as the teams from various factions who were cleaning the plane itself. Instead, it carefully watched over the giant silver cocoon that was shrouded in its own light.

The Commanding Will would record indiscriminately every change: be it expansion or contraction, any substance shift from other parts or how fundamental molecules were moving in various spots. Through that information, it would infer whether or not Joshua’s will remained, and was prepared to act at any moment to rescue the warrior’s self in every moment.

Though it believed Joshua could control his own power and could reach that most important step through metamorphosis, that did not mean it would not help when Joshua was in peril. At most, it would greatly lower his expectations over the warrior, demoting Joshua from the ‘First Heir to the Sage’ and removing his present position highest clearance in the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds.

However, it was worth rejoicing that, from the present reactions, Joshua had finally and completely controlled his own power in the extended battle of self, maintaining his Self.

“Congratulations, Joshua.”

At that moment, it conveyed earnest well-wishing at the giant silver cocoon. “You have stepped fully into the limitless, and that feat alone is worthy of being recorded down in the Multiverse.”

“My thanks, Commanding Will.”

It was after a long time that a deep voice that carried electromagnetic noise wafted from the giant silver cocoon. “While it had been reckless, it is thanks to Igor, Nostradamus and you for isolating the gravity from my true form. Otherwise, it would not be so easy for my reconstruction of mental systems.”

Those were earnest words from Joshua. It was fortunate that the old pontiff had quickly discovered Joshua’s cocoon and sealed the warrior, isolating him utterly away from the physical realm with a parallel spatial seal. It was also with luck that everyone avoided any calamity, preserving the warrior cocoon, or Joshua would have been further burdened in his reconstruction of a mind network due to attaining substantial material resupply.

Just imagine—infinite scattered sturdy matter, colliding under influence of tremendous gravity on the surface of the giant silver cocoon, thus releasing nuclear energy that surpasses most Supreme-tier spells. It would have been disastrous for the warrior as he kept rebuilding his mental core inside the giant cocoon, and a few more times would see the reconstruction interrupted, forcing him to restart the process.

“All in the name of Order.”

The simple-minded Commanding Will of the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds did not reply much, merely searching its information vault and reply accordingly. “Joshua, your present form’s energy is exceeding—your existing alone would cause apocalyptic disaster for the physical realm.”

“According to data from the Glorious Era, you should create a clone that replaces your original form to walk in the mortal realm, continuing your human activities.”

“Clone?”

Joshua could not help remembering his recent journey in Simboa at the word.

At the time, Simboa remained a world with low-to-average mana levels, which was why he especially descended with his soul, and possessed a clone… he never imagined that he would have to use a clone again when he returned to Mycroft.

But that could not be helped. Joshua himself was aware that his ability had advanced exponentially, and could no longer be leisurely and nonchalant like before. The crude isolation barrier alone would not nullify the terrible gravity from the tremendous mass his body carried, and if he made for Moldavia with his true form, perhaps… no, he would definitely leave his entire domain a cratered, barren land, just as the crust of the entire North would change violently.

At present, Joshua remained in his silver cocoon form, having used most of his mental power to construct brand new thought modules. For the time being, to adapt to the completely different mental organs, he would not be able to rapidly transform into the Steel Giant form he usually employed, and would maintain his current state for months, even for most of the year. At the thought, Joshua did not hesitate, quickly moving and adjusting his true form to produce a sufficiently powerful clone.

It was then that Joshua’s will suddenly paused.

“Wait, I forgot to return the ‘Unnamed Technician’s’ body to Simboa!”

***

When Joshua fought Fattrovi in the World Inner back in Simboa, the Steel Puppet which he descended as tore apart space, allowing his true form to directly attack the Celestial Giant which the Time Turner transformed into, intending to pull it into the Void for the decisive battle. At the time, to ensure the safety of the Steel Puppet, Joshua’s true form had assimilated the puppet and the Unnamed Technician’s body that was inside the puppet, preserving them securely.

But when Fattrovi reverted time again and again, he had beaten Joshua together with ‘Destiny’ into vagueness with his ability to observe even the variants of future. As they collided again and again, Fattrovi’s will was pummeled to a blur, just as Joshua himself forgotten that there was a puppet and the body of a Simboan inside himself.

What was more, Joshua’s premonition that he was about to ascend had hence made him hurry back to Mycroft to better prepare. He should have remembered that then, but encountered the transformation in the Void Vortex halfway through… Everything happened with great coincidence, with substantial energies surging into his body and accelerating Joshua’s level, forcing him to further overlook the matter.

And now, regardless of whether it was a Steel Puppet or the physical form of the Unnamed Technicians, everything had been compressed into degenerate matter in the process of Joshua’s ascension, becoming raw materials for Joshua’s present body.

“Fortunately, I’m familiar with Creation—things would be awkward otherwise.”

At the center of the Multiverse Sacrificial Grounds, the surface of the giant silver cocoon throbbed before emitting pencil-tip sized molecules. They split into half in the air, half of which occupied most while the other an insignificant trace amount. Under Joshua’s control, the molecules of contrasting scales rapidly enlarged, turning into a black-haired man with a huge frame, while the other an ordinary Simboan youth.

Both distinctly carbon-based lifeforms.

With Joshua’s present control of his power, he could use related information to produce various clones as long as he had the raw materials. Be it combat forms like the Steel Puppet or normal carbon-based human forms, with sufficient information, he could recompense the Unnamed Technician with an identical body even after absorbing it.

Naturally, the Unnamed Technician’s soul was still recuperating in Joshua’s Soul Pool, and would need some time before it could control his body. When he was completely revived, Joshua would certainly ask if he wished to return to his homeworld, but if he was not, he would hire him and maintain his research on Soul Puppets in Winter Fort Academy. Otherwise, he would simply return him to Simboa, so that he could interact with his own kind.

“Simply matter of convenience.”

Joshua never forgot about the Black Fog that was wandering by the edge of the Void Vortex, as well as the Alpha Shelter that might exist. To completely destroy that ‘Darkness amidst the Stars’, he might need to verify things back at those dimensional regions.

Assuredly, that would have to wait. Following the Commanding Will’s reminder, the clone Joshua just made—the huge black-haired man flexed his limbs and turned to the east where there appeared to be human voices. It was the tour party from the Winter Fort College, and amongst them were many living presences Joshua was familiar with.

At the thought of the one the presence belonged to, Joshua, who had not walked upon the world in human form for some time curled up the corner of his lips, making a rather rigid but sincere grin.

After all, he had just returned home.